You taught me to love God first, family next and then country.
Your love of America was intense; you watched friends beside you give everything for her in 1944. But you loved and honored our family and our God even more than our country. You never wavered from that order of priority. Ever.
As a young man I didn’t understand those priorities. I was all about me. Your principles seemed old-fashioned and boring.
The older I got, the smarter you were.
You had many favorite scriptures. I think of two often;
- A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. (Proverbs 18:16)
- Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18).
You never felt anyone, or the government, owed you anything.
When doubt was there of the fair line between giving and receiving in any transaction, you would error on the side of giving.
You never lived beyond your means (in fact, you kept yourself well short).
You didn’t lie. You didn’t cheat. You didn’t drink. You didn’t cuss.
You laughed generously with others; especially family.
You worked hard and long, every day but Sunday. It was never about how much you would get; it was about how much you would get done.
Us kids knew you loved us. We knew you loved Mom more. That was OK.
You told stories so well. I remember how your hands and voice would shake as you told some of your more intense experiences. War stories. Train wrecks. Mountain exploration. Life on the farm. Good times. Hard times. Death and loss. I learned to learn from experiences as you had learned from yours. No PTSD, no entitlement, no pity, no invoice; just lessons learned, move on and leave the world better than you found it.
You taught me no matter how hard some situation was, I would not have to look far to find someone who had it worse and got through it.
In fact, you told me, “don’t get over it; get through it.”
There was always hope.
I think about you often.
You were what Mom needed.
You inspired me .
If every man was what his wife needed, what his daughters hoped for and what his sons wanted to be, our nation would be in a better place.
Thank you, Dad.